Discipline: Science

Grade Level: 7

Course: Life Science

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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The Effect Algal Blooms Have on Marine Ecosystems
  • Background to Share with Students
    • The Environmental Protection Agency is composed of ecologists who engage in decision making at various levels of government. They work with federal agencies to create environmental laws that ensure the preservation, use, and sustenance of, American ecosystems. This organization works to communicate the importance of maintaining balanced ecosystems to the public. Write a letter that addresses how the agricultural industries are contributing to the occurrence of algal blooms off the coast of the United States and the effect this has had on marine life. In your discussion, include several ideas that may resolve efforts to find an ecological balance. Informing this organization of the problem will help in efforts to address the situation as well as expedite a solution.

  • Task/Text
    • Teaching Task

      L1: What effect do algal blooms have on marine environments off the coast of the United States? After reading scientific texts on fertilizer run-off and algal blooms, write a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency that examines the causes of algal blooms and explains the effect fertilizer run-off has on the overpopulation of algae in marine ecosystems. What conclusions or implications can you draw? Support your discussion with evidence from the texts.

      Reading Texts
  • Content Standards
    • Standards Source: Number: Content Standards:

      Georgia State Standards - Life Science


      Students will investigate the diversity of living organisms and how they can be compared scientifically.


      Students will describe the structure and function of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems.


      Students will recognize how biological traits are passed on to successive generations.


      Students will examine the dependence of organisms on one another and their environments.


      Students will examine the evolution of living organisms through inherited characteristics that promote survival of organisms and the survival of successive generations of their offspring.

  • Reading Standards for Informational
    • "Built-In" Reading Standards "When Appropriate" Reading Standards (applicable in black)
      • Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
      • Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
      • Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
      • Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
      • Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
      • Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
      • Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
      • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
      • Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
      • Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • Writing Standards for Informational
    • "Built-In" Writing Standards "When Appropriate" Writing Standards (applicable in black)
      • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
      • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
      • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
      • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
      • Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audience.
      • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
      • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
      • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
      • Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
      • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Language Standards for Informational
    • "Built-In" Language Standards
      • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
      • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
      • Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
  • Speaking and Listening Standards for Informational
    • "Built-In" Speaking and Listening Standards
      • Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Scoring Rubric
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